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High expectations for all students at Sturgis Charter Public School

This post is part of Excellence and Equity (E2), a dialogue among IB educators and school leaders around empowering under-represented students for success in life-long learning. Subscribe to E2 updates or write to us directly to share your access success story.


Photo credit: Len Rubenstein, MASS Development

E2’s framework aims to provide an image of what an equitable schoolwhere under-represented students would have access to the highest levels of achievementwould look like. Paul Marble, Principal at Sturgis Charter Public School – East, has written the story below that provides a successful example of the fundamental component the IB’s E2 framework on access: “The school’s mission clearly emphasizes the benefits of academically challenging opportunities and high expectations for all students.”


By Paul Marble, Principal at Sturgis Charter Public School – East

At Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA our belief about the IB and student learning is simple. All of our students take all of their coursework in eleventh and twelfth grade in the Diploma Programme because we believe that the IB transforms all students.


Sturgis students Eva F ahey and Ann Drea Morris. Photo credit: Jarvis Chen

Sturgis received IB authorization in 2004, at a point when the approximately 350 students across grades nine through twelve attended the school. Since that time, interest in IB for All has swelled to its current peak that has led to the creation of a second mirror high school – there are now two 400 student high schools named Sturgis East and Sturgis West approximately a mile and half from each other in downtown Hyannis – and there are nearly 600 students on the waiting list.


Sturgis science class. Photo credit: Marion Weeks

The enrollment formula is set by the state: eighth-grade siblings of currently enrolled Sturgis students are given priority when applying. The next pool (and far and away the largest) consists of eighth-grade students from across our region, which consists of towns across Cape Cod and a few “over the bridge”. If there are more applicants than available spots (at this point, our state enrollment cap is 800, which means that approximately 200 ninth graders start in the fall), a public lottery is held. Applicants are chosen at random. Sturgis takes and embraces all comers.

I think teachers choose to come to Sturgis because the mission is so extraordinary. Each day, we are all committed to ensuring that all students – including the approximately twelve percent of our student population that are on Individualized Educational Plans – reach their maximum potential via the IB’s Diploma Programme.

West hallways on Opening Day

West hallways on Opening Day. Photo credit: Marion Weeks

Last year, 186 seniors took an average of 5.8 IB exams, and one hundred and nineteen of those seniors (sixty-four percent of the class) completed all of the requirements to be considered full Diploma candidates upon their graduation from Sturgis. Twenty of those seniors were on Individualized Educational Plans and those students took an average of five IB exams each.

Why do students embrace the challenge of IB for All? Please watch and listen to Sam – a current senior at Sturgis East and a student on an Individualized Educational Plan – explain his thoughts and feelings.
Shouldn’t all students get the chance to feel so strongly?

Paul Marble is the Principal at Sturgis Charter Public School – East and is transitioning to the Executive Director position in July of 2016.  You can email him at

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